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PLM Essentials - 3. Part Nomenclature


Part Nomenclature and the management of description systems is critical to efficiency and programme success. In our third instalment of the PLM ESSENTIALS series, we discuss the important of part nomenclature and how to design and implement effective part description systems.

The previous chapters in our PLM essentials series covered: Part 1 – Part Numbering and Part 2 – Attributes.

What is part nomenclature?

While part numbers are very helpful to define specific parts within a complex product or project, they offer very little in the way of description. For those unfamiliar or new to the engineering details, like a contracted supplier, part numbers alone are not enough.

Part nomenclature is an efficient and detailed system for describing parts using a universal and specific list of abbreviated descriptors. It can include location or role within a product as well as physical characteristics and other attributes.

With PLM and ERP systems often requiring a character limit, ensuring a concise and universal part description system is essential. If implemented correctly, the system makes it quick and simple for someone to find the location and purpose of a part.

Establishing an effective nomenclature system

While every business will use a different system that reflects their product, there are some characteristics of good systems that remain consistent across the board, such as:

  • Part descriptions are easy to interpret
  • Descriptions are as concise as possible
  • Descriptions are compatible with all relevant PLM and ERP software
  • Abbreviations are chosen to be intuitive
  • All descriptions fit within a specified structure

If these basic steps are followed, the system will function as intended – minimising confusion through improved communication and improving overall efficiency.

Part nomenclature in action

The guide below includes an informative case study that helps to highlight the practical implementation of a part description system for an electric vehicle manufacturer. This brings together common industry descriptors and those specific to the manufacturer – a bespoke system to effectively meet their requirements.

In the case of this customer, no system had been implemented, with engineers each developing their own descriptions using personal terminology or previous descriptors learnt at previous places of employment. The result was an entirely ineffective system that hampering productivity, costing the manufacturer time and money.

Through effective use of characters, structure and abbreviations, the customer was able to overhaul their nomenclature system. This delivered significant organisational and commercial benefits by making PLM far for effective.

To learn more, view the full guide and case study below.

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